Social Science Scholar: Interning with Running Start

My summer in DC allowed me to see the inner-workings of a women-focused non-profit while giving me the flexibility to work on my thesis. Currently, I am in the process of applying to various law schools. I am plan to earn my J.D. and work for the government in some capacity, either in Florida or in DC.

Social Science Chart of the Day: Value of U.S. Top Imports from China

Last week, President Trump noted would be willing to tax additional products from China. He decision, it seems, depends in part on what happens at the G20 meeting this weekend. Statista put together a chart listing some of the products that might be on Trump's target list. 

The Cultural Landscape of Thanksgiving

In the years to follow the first Thanksgiving, the holiday was only sporadically recognized. The early presidents proclaimed days of Thanksgiving, but the federal government stopped recognizing the holiday in the early nineteenth-century. It was only in amidst the national disunity of the Civil War that Lincoln re-established the holiday as a means to reaffirm a sense of national unity. In this context, the story of the original Thanksgiving garnered new meaning, representing an ideal of people sharing a land together in spite of their differences.

There Is More to Women’s Political Participation than Voting

Journalists covering the 2018 mid-term elections enjoy spinning out narratives about cleavages in American society when it comes to voting. The gender gap is one of the tales they can weave together through data and first-person accounts. While gender differences in voting patterns are certainly important, it comfortably fits with a broader tendency to downplay women’s leadership and engagement throughout history. It is critical that we remind journalists, our students, and ourselves, that the gender gap in voting does not capture women’s political contributions or their political diversity. Women’s engagement matters well beyond their votes.       

Is Infrastructure the Silver Bullet to Rural Poverty?

We have three key findings: (1) nationally, the construction of the ADHS increased income by 0.4 percent (2) about half of the benefits occur in counties outside of the ARC (3) despite these modest gains, they are not large enough to break the cycle of poverty in Appalachia. Had the ADHS not been built, incomes in Appalachia would be lower than they are today. However, the region is still in decline, so at best the construction of the ADHS only softened the fall.

Americans’ Support for Torture

Our findings are sobering and call into question the extent to which public opinion can serve as a bulwark in the protection of a fundamental, universally-recognized human right.  Indeed, that we were able to observe normatively negative effects with such a “mild” terror cue involving no fatalities or hard evidence of wrongdoing underscores how malleable public opinion can be when threat is raised.  Perhaps more troubling, our results suggest that citizens support for torture can be activated by appealing to an individual’s perception of threat.  Americans’ attitudes toward government torture are malleable precisely when governments are most likely to have an interest in engaging in abuse…under conditions of threat.  Our results suggest that democratic institutions, such as constitutional protections and independent courts are likely stronger safeguards against government torture than public opinion.

Understanding the Changing World: International Relations

The world is a complicated place. Even if we limit our attention to the world's countries---and in so doing, ignore other vital actors like non-governmental organizations, firms, political parties, and many others---we have nearly 200 entities to study. As it happens, those entities care about a lot of things: resources, policies, regimes, and so on. …

Residents Of Tampa Bay Area Should Pass On Subsidizing New Rays Stadium

In general, there’s no evidence that cities need sports teams to thrive—especially sports teams that are struggling. If Rays ownership wants a new stadium then it should be up to them to find a way to pay for it. Tampa officials and residents, along with taxpayers in surrounding Hillsborough County, should resist the Rays overtures.

How to Create Safe Skies in the Age of Drones

As with automobiles, and unlike with airline traffic, NASA’s proposed system would allow drones to fly where their owners wanted, when they wanted, without requiring permission from a government controller. But this same system could also be used for airline traffic, converting the current antiquated system of top-down air traffic control into a decentralized system in which aircraft electronically see and avoid each other. The technology for aircraft to see each other electronically already exists, and is already required for airliners.

New Book: Political Capitalism By Dr. Randall Holcombe

Frequent demands that the government should do something (about so many things!) are too often based on wishful thinking—the thought that if government is given the power to act, it will do what the critics want. But giving the government power to do something too often means giving the elite more power to use the system for their benefit. I don’t claim that my book has all the answers; but problems cannot be effectively addressed without understanding their causes. My book explains why cronyism and favoritism toward special interests has become increasingly common.